I’ve written about this before, but after going through the exercise several times, I had to say it again. There is nothing like listening to someone else read your writing to you. I find it does the following:
- Lets you know if your story flows from one chapter to the next.
- Validates the rhythm of your dialogue.
- Catches typos you’ve missed a thousand times because your eyes can’t notice them anymore.
- Gives you a warm, fuzzy feeling when you’re wrapped in a furry blankie.
Sometimes I read my work out loud just after I’ve composed some dialogue or a paragraph I’m unsure of, but when I really want to sanity-check my work, I let Celia read to me. Celia is the nickname I give to the English-accented voice on my Google phone. I convert my MS Word document to an epub format, then use the Read Aloud feature on Google Play Books. Update: I also use ChromeVox on my Chromebook, on the Accessibility menu.
Listening to a voice that isn’t mine—or doesn’t belong anyone else I know—really forces me to pay attention. I also read along on my Chromebook (yes, I’m googly for Google) and that helps me catch what doesn’t work. I’ll pause, edit a bit, and then let Celia continue on.
Right now, I’m about three chapters away from finishing the rough draft of my 30-chapter novel. I’m listening to the 27 chapters I’ve written so far, before finishing it up. After that, I’ll search for more bad words (See: Editing really, really bad words. Really. ), listen to the old book again, and, squee, hand it off to the beta readers!
I really encourage you to hear what your writing sounds like. This is where technology really comes in handy, if you don’t have a patient friend to do it for you. I am finding this exercise invaluable.
Enjoy the journey and happy listening!